What should sufferers of depression or anxiety do if seeing several therapists and psychologists was ineffective?

Doctor's Answers 1

It must be quite emotionally draining to realise that despite seeing a number of mental health professionals, your anxiety and depression do not seem to get better. I have a few suggestions, thoughts or pointers.

First, it will be good to stick to a particular psychiatrist for at least 6 months before moving on to see another psychiatrist as many forms of treatments (medications and psychotherapy included) would take some time to work.

Second, many patients have both anxiety and depression, so when choosing medications, it will be wise to choose an agent that works for both conditions.

Third, the psychiatrist can also order tests for you to see your genetic profile to predict your response to medications, so as to choose a medication that works for you.

Fourth, in terms of therapy, the most effective form of treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). For this form of therapy to work, there needs to be close collaborative input from both client and therapist. This often means that the clients need to monitor his/her own thoughts, record them down and do some modification of their thoughts so that they become neutral or positive ones. However, CBT has been shown to be less effective when the client is not keen on homework.

Fifth, most anxious and depressive patients also have long-standing insomnia, chronic pain and sexual problems. You can discuss with your existing mental health professionals if they are able to help you with these issues. They can also refer you to their colleagues who are experienced in treating these concerns.

Lastly, do keep your spirits up as it often takes time to find the mental health professional that best suits you.

Similar Questions

Are there any alternatives to anti-depressants for severe depression and anxiety?

Thanks for your question, and I’m very sorry to hear that you are going through such a horrible time. I can only imagine how tough it must be. Before I answer further, I’m going to give the caveat that it’s next to impossible to offer advice about any psychiatric problem without seeing you face to face, or at the very least, having all the salient information about mood, sleep, suicidal ideation etc. I’m going to assume off the bat that the diagnosis of depression has been established by the doctors you’ve seen.

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Dr Shi Hui Poon


Are there any alternatives like psychotherapy that are able to completely replace medication for anxiety and depression?

Thank you for asking this question for the benefit of everyone. It sounds that you are having a tough time, and its double whammy when the treatment gives you unbearable side effects. Unfortunately in medicine, it is often times a zero sum game. Everything seems to have its "costs" and "benefits". Fortunately for you, there are alternatives, like psychotherapy or more commonly known as talk therapy. The good side is that if it works for you, the effect is equivalent to medications, and the effects lasts way longer than medications.

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Answered By

Dr Paul Ang

General Practitioner

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